Re: Newbie first-time install advice: Highpoint Rocket 133SB

From: David Witbrodt (
Date: 09/26/04

  • Next message: Don Jackson: "Advice needed to speed up very slow machine"
    Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2004 22:41:38 -0400
    To: debian-user <>

    Gayle Lee Fairless wrote:
    > >I received a WD 160 GB hard drive as a gift earlier this year, but have
    > >not found a chance to install it until now. I assumed I could just plug
    > >it in, but when I began reading about it I realized that my old PC
    > >(circa 2000) cannot handle IDE drives larger than 137 GB. Further
    > >reading helped me understand that buying a newer IDE controller would
    > >allow me to use the big drive.
    > >
    > >I plan a multiboot system with Windows XP (and maybe a couple of other
    > >OSes), and I have on-hand all of the drivers and docs I need to make
    > >that work. Unfortunately, I am still unclear about how to allow Debian
    > >to support the IDE controller.
    > Your configuration is somewhat similar to mine. I have a Gateway 500
    > with Windows 98SE with a 13 GB IBM hard drive as my primary drive. I
    > installed a Western Digital 160 GB hard drive (slave) on my system. It
    > was useful to download the Western Digital Data Lifeguard utility off
    > Western Digital's website since the utility on Windows 98SE has a 64 GB
    > limitation. I used Western Digital's utility to partition the new 160
    > GB hard drive into 6 partitions. I used the first for Linux root, a
    > spare partition for a future root system, 2 swap partitions (one for
    > Linux, maybe the second for Windows), and 2 large data partitions ( one
    > for Linux, the second and last for Windows and/or Linux).

      I have downloaded the WD utils, even though I haven't tried to
    physically install the drive yet. Glad to hear that it works.
      If I may ask, I was a bit confused by the instruction I read (and
    printed) from the WD website explaining how to carry out the
    partitioning process. Those instructions list the following steps:

            1) Connect the drive to the motherboard IDE controller
               (which can't handle >137 GB drives on old systems?).
            2) Boot using the "Data Lifeguard" utils disk.
            3) Install OS.
            4) Power down; install LBA48 controller card, but
               leave big drive on legacy controller. (This is so
               that Windows can just recognize the controller w/o
               being confused by an attached drive, I guess.)
            5) Boot, and load drivers.
            6) Power down; move big drive to new controller.
            7) Power up, and OS should boot from big drive.

    Did you follow these steps, or something similar? If not, what steps
    did you carry out. (I'm quite interested, since you obviously were
    successful! I have not made the attempt yet, but info about real
    experiences is most valuable.)

    > I also have the 7 woody CDROM's. I was unable to use any of the 2.2
    > kernels in the first 4 choices off the installation CDROM (no. 1).
    > bf2.4 had to be used. It was the only choice that saw the partitions on
    > the 160 GB hard drive. I used cfdisk off the Linux installation CDROM
    > to format (but not to partition) those partitions in ext2 for Linux (
    > partitions 1,2,3, and 5 out of six). When you come to the Xfree86
    > portion of the installation, choose simple or medium. Do NOT choose
    > advanced! That option is for those people who know exactly what the
    > hardware is on their system! BTW, be sure to prepare list of all your
    > hardware, vendors, etc. to answer the installation questions.

      Thanks for the tip on Xfree86. Will do....
      I didn't burn 7 CD's! I did some reading, and decided I needed disk 1
    and 5 (bf2.4). Further reading made me think that the old Woody kernels
    wouldn't be able to handle my 160 GB drive, even if partitioned with the
    WD tool. Obviously, from your experience, I misunderstood and was
      Your advice about _only_ formatting (not partitioning) with cfdisk is
    also noted. I have burned a small CD, with an updated Woody, called
    HILUX. It has a more advanced kernel, which I thought was essential
    because of my misunderstanding about recognizing the big drive's
    capacity. I also hoped that it might have built-in support for my
    controller, but it looks now like I'm completely out of luck in that
    area. (Elsewhere in this thread I concluded that I will have to compile
    a source tarball from the manufacturer's site. Unfortunately, being an
    absolute beginner with Linux, that is going to pose a major hurdle for

    > I happened to choose gdm for my windows manager. Perhaps I should have
    > chosen kdm instead since I now know that I like KDE. After that it was
    > just a matter of learning to use apt-get update and apt-get upgrade to
    > bring the installation up to the latest stuff. I used the package list
    > off to shop for additional packages. apt-get install
    > <package> works nicely. You have to run the apt-get commands as root.
    > Be sure to create one or more user accounts for your routine use because
    > it is not a good idea to run as root all the time. You'll have to add
    > the user account(s) to one or more various groups to mount floppies,
    > dial out, etc. If you have ZIP drives from Iomega, the iw utility for
    > Linux off the Iomega website will be useful. Knowing how to setup the
    > sources.list for apt-get will be useful.
    > I allowed the installation to modify the MBR on the boot drive to
    > install LILO. Have your Windows rescue diskette handy to restore the
    > MBR should that become necessary. The LILO documentation tells you how
    > to modify the LILO menu to your liking and to rerun LILO to make the
    > changes. One of the packages that I found helpful is sudo. That allows
    > you to specify limited root privileges to the user account(s) of your
    > choice. That way it is not necessary to su to root for routine mounting
    > of floppies, etc.

      May I ask: did you leave the old, small drive connected? Or did you
    only use the new, big drive?
      I ask because I am still trying to decide, without any experience
    whatsoever, whether to choose grub or lilo. Lilo would use the MBR on
    whichever disk is perceived as primary by my hardware, and I'm not sure
    whether that will be my old drive (maybe still connected to the
    motherboard IDE controller) or the big drive on the PCI controller.
    Actually, the controller I bought (Highpoint Rocket 133SB) has its own
    BIOS, so that the primary drive might be configurable through its BIOS
    setup. I won't really know until later, when I get inside the case and
    see if everything will work.
      I have seen many folks swear that grub is easier to use, especially if
    you make frequent changes. But from the reading I have done, I seem to
    understand and gravitate more towards lilo. Once I arrive at the final
    configuration I have in mind, I don't really expect to be changing
    things too much, anyway.

    > There are bunches of other things that can be done to customize your
    > installation, of course.

      Well, thank you very much for your very informative response! I will
    be printing this out and keeping it handy for next week... or whenever I
    can finally get around to the big installation! All of the tips and
    advice will be very helpful!

    Dave W.

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